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On May 5, 2013, at 10:33 PM, Coda Highland wrote:

> On Sun, May 5, 2013 at 4:28 PM, Jay Carlson <> wrote:
>> On May 5, 2013, at 6:31 PM, Coda Highland wrote:
>>> But the GPLv3 in particular is problematic for a company like Apple,
>>> because while GPLv2 stuff can be used on an iPhone as long as Apple
>>> distributes source, GPLv3 stuff cannot.
>> No, Apple certainly *can* distribute GPLv3-licensed code on any platform. They have decided they don't like the terms offered.
> The statements are equivalent. From the perspective of Apple's prior
> behavior, the GPLv3 prohibits Apple's use of it; from the perspective
> of the FSF, Apple doesn't like the terms.

I think it's a bad idea to hide that a choice is being made. "Apple can't use code distributed under the GPLv3" is about in the same category as "I can't buy an iOS device" or perhaps "I can't join the real ADC". Nothing is legally keeping either of us from doing so. I think people usually write "will not" or "can't because" in such situations.

The situation is not quite symmetric, though. Apple can and has picked individual companies and technologies and declared them to be no longer welcome. The "strategic" things GPLv3 rights-holders can do are far more limited: ignore license violations, or watch a licensee like a hawk for violations. Many people would love to declare (say) Exxon or usury to be sinful and therefore prohibited from using some piece of open source software. But like all DFSG licenses, the GPLv3 does not discriminate between entities, and is largely *predictable*.

I'm not playing license advocate. As it happens, my published Lua stuff uses the Lua license, and at least one thing I built out of GPL'd parts has an explicit declaration about what I would not consider to be a derived work. I'm not out to infect the world. But I don't want to privilege some license choices by letting them seem inevitable, nor do I want the explicit and active endeavor to lock out owners from their property to become invisible. In this case, the two are related, and I did a bad job of writing about it--that's why I'm essentially rewriting my last message instead of just letting it speak for itself.